A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is as safe as a holiday album can be, and although most of these songs are familiar to all ages, the classical nature might not totally appeal to kids looking for a holiday album with a pop sound. Unlike Archuleta's previous releases, this album will probably appeal to more mature tastes since there are very few fast-paced tunes (or references to Santa, for that matter). This album is more for introspective thought and a celebration of faith, rather than a rock around the Christmas tree.
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What's the story?
CHRISTMAS FROM THE HEART contains some of the most well-known and classic songs of the season, like "Angels We Have Heard on High," "O Come All Ye Faithful," and "Silent Night," as well as centuries-old tunes like "Ave Maria" and the French traditional "Pat-A-Pan." Archuleta takes a break from his traditionally youthful pop sound to offer up a more refined voice here, with restrained harmonies and low-key melodies. There is, however, one original song amongst the standards, called "Melodies of Christmas"; it was co-written by Archuleta and ends the album reaffirming the sentiments of faith and family expressed in the other dozen tracks.
Is it any good?
If David Archuleta didn't have such a boyish look on this album's cover, it might be easier to make the connection between this American Idol sweetheart and the refined vocals on Christmas from the Heart. Some might say that Archuleta plays it safe, covering such classics as "Ave Maria" and "What Child Is This," but it's a big risk when you consider his young fan base is probably looking more for a upbeat pop-infused album rather than an operatic nod to the classics. Archuleta's vocals are impressive and hold their own on well-loved standards. His own original song, "Melodies of Christmas," does a nice job of offering up a modern track that still fits in nicely with the overall feel of the LP, wrapping up this musical gift.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about holiday traditions. How does music play a role in your family's holidays? Does holiday music put you in a special mood? Do you prefer slow, thoughtful holiday tunes, or more modern interpretations?
Families can talk about how Christmas is marketed to kids and families. Do you feel pressure to spend a lot of money on presents this year, or do you have big expectations for what you are going to receive? Do you think it would be better to focus on other holiday traditions besides shopping, or is spending what the holiday is all about?
Families can talk about the difference in American Idol alums. What do they all have in common (if anything)? Do most of them follow a similar pop formula? Does Archuleta seem to differ from many of the others? Why do you think he has remained successful while other AI artists have disappeared from the charts?